Marlborough celebrates efforts to increase early participation in college programs

Students at Marlborough High School will now be able to earn up to 21 credit hours through the school’s early bonding program before leaving MHS. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH — Marlborough has joined a statewide coalition to encourage more students to enroll in early college programs.

The Massachusetts Alliance for Early College (MEAC) includes some of the largest districts in the state, with members including Worcester, Boston, and Salem, as well as more than 70 other organizations, districts, and nonprofits.

The program aims to increase the number of students in the first university classes by more than 900%, from 4,500 students to 45,000 students over the next five years.

“Bridging these opportunity gaps is a very equitable solution,” Marlborough High School principal Dan Riley told the Community Advocate last week. “All of our students should be prepared for post-secondary education even if they choose not to attend.”

The principal celebrates the program

Marlborough has been involved in early college programs for over a decade.

It currently has 119 high school students participating in 140 of these first university courses, with some students taking multiple courses.

Students will be able to earn up to 21 credit hours, starting next year, Riley said.

Classes are true career-focused college classes that take place during the high school day. There is no cost for students or families.

Riley explained that offering additional programs will give students a foundation that will make them better equipped to meet the challenges of post-secondary life.

“The student experience here becomes rigorous and worthwhile, and I hope they return to our community to work in one of the many thriving industries,” Riley said. “This all ties into the district’s plan to provide a higher level of academic achievement throughout their time in Marlborough Public Schools.”

Riley said he believes providing students with early college experience will give them a greater chance of continuing on to greater opportunities after high school.

“The rigor you feel in high school applies to everything after high school,” he said.

Riley went on to say that providing these programs will allow Marlborough High School alumni to potentially earn a higher income through a higher likelihood of pursuing post-secondary education.

A 2014 study by Research benchindeed, found that bachelor’s degree graduates earn nearly double what high school graduates earn.

“What we provide as a foundation will set them up for success,” Riley said.

“This opportunity is transformative for our students”

Superintendent of Schools Michael Bergeron recently shared similar enthusiasm for the effort, echoing the importance of bringing these programs to Marlborough students.

“Our data shows that this increases access to college enrollment and, just as importantly, students persist and also stay in college at higher rates,” Bergeron said in a Feb. 22 press release. . “Early College elevates the level of rigor in education and offers significant savings for students who earn college credit while still enrolled in high school.”

“This opportunity is transformational for our students, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and the first in their households to attend college or university,” he continued.

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